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What is The International Standardization Organization?

After the Second World War, the need arose to establish international standards to ensure high quality in products and services across national borders. This led to the establishment of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in partnership with the United Nations Standards Coordinating Committee (UNSCC) in 1946. ISO’s goal was to define common business standards, and the first standard, ISO/Ra:1951, was published in 1951.

With more than 22,000 standards, ISO has over 75 years of experience in contributing to standardisation and quality assurance across industries and business areas. ISO9001 is one of these standards in data legislation.

What is ISO9001?

Basically, ISO9001 is an international standard that specifies requirements for your quality management system (QMS). It applies to any organisation, regardless of size or industry. Applying ISO9001 will help your company become more organised and efficient, while consistently providing products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

Specifically, ISO900 focuses on quality, efficient management and structured dialogue with customers. It works with systems and methodologies your company may already be using. For example: total quality management, quality pricing models, LEAN, six sigma, business process reengineering, balanced score card and activity-based costing. The key elements of ISO9001 include:

  1. Leadership: Your leadership must demonstrate commitment to quality goals and continuously improve your QMS.
  2. Customer focus: You must understand and satisfy customer requirements and expectations.
  3. Employee involvement: All your employees must be engaged and aware of their role in achieving quality goals.
  4. Process orientation: You must identify, understand and manage the interrelationship between its processes to achieve desired outcomes.
  5. Continuous improvement: You should strive for continuous improvement of the QMS based on evaluation of data and results.
  6. Fact-based decision-making: Your decisions must be made based on reliable information and data analysis.
  7. Stakeholder Relationships: You must understand and manage its relationships with stakeholders to meet their requirements.

Want help with ISO9001 compliance?

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How to comply with ISO9001?

Compliance with ISO9001 involves a systematic approach to establish, implement, maintain and improve standards that together form a solid quality management system. With this in mind, here are some steps that can help an organisation meet ISO9001 requirements:

  1. Firstly, ensure your management is actively involved in setting and supporting quality goals.
  2. Identify and understand customer requirements and expectations in order to deliver satisfactory products or services.
  3. Then, make sure you educate and engage employees in the quality goals and processes.
  4. Afterwards, identify and document key processes and their interactions to ensure efficiency and quality.
  5. Thereafter, implement a cycle of planning, execution, evaluation and improvement to maintain and improve quality.
  6. Whenever you need to make decisions about your products and services, use your data and analytics to inform these.
  7. Finally, continue to stay in touch with stakeholder demands to maintain positive relationships.

In fact, companies can become certified in ISO9001 to show that they meet international standards for quality management systems. In essence, this is recognition of the organisation’s ability to deliver high-quality products or services and commitment to continuous improvement.

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Sensitive data can tends to accumulate in the employees' e-mails. With a GDPR Risk Scan from DataMapper, you get a report that shows any potential GDPR risks in the company's e-mails.

Need help with ISO9001?

In order to meet the ISO9001 requirements, it’s important to inventory your data and get a clear understanding of the types of sensitive data your company processes. Certainly, this is a key element of risk management. Showing your customers that you keep track of their data also promotes customer trust and satisfaction. At the same time, keeping such an inventory makes accurate documentation – perhaps the most essential element of quality management staple – simple and easy.

Our Data Discovery tool, DataMapper, was created for this purpose. It gives you an overview of the sensitive data you store. As has been noted, tracking and documentation are the foundation of ensuring high quality in your products and services. Therefore, if you want to improve your QMS and apply  ISO9001, why not start by inventorying your data?

Sebastian Allerelli

Founder & COO at Safe Online
Governance, Risk & Compliance Specialist
Follow me on LinkedIn to get tips on GDPR →


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